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Caps 2, Flyers 1 (SO)

Coach Bruce Boudreau attempted to downplay the significance of tonight's 2-1 shootout win over the Flyers, since it came in the tiebreaker.

"We won in a shootout," he said, shrugging. "It's not like we came in here and out-shot them 43-14 and dominated them. We won in a shootout. That's basically a tie game for 65 minutes."

While Boudreau may not have been satisfied - he rarely is - based on the celebration in the stands and in the room, the players and fans certainly felt like something big was accomplished by beating the hated Flyers, the team that vanquished them from the playoffs in April and humiliated them last month.

"They beat us 7-1," said Alex Ovechkin, referring to the beatdown in Philly on Dec. 20. "It doesn't matter how we win, in a shootout or overtime, we just want to win."

And thanks to Viktor Kozlov, Nicklas Backstrom and Jose Theodore, in particular, win they did, for the seventh straight game.

Some other notes and quotes from tonight:

*Chris Clark didn't return after Ovechkin lined up Jeff Carter late in the third period -- and missed. Ovechkin ended up nailing Clark - perhaps knee on knee. There was no update on Clark's status after the game.

*The win was the Caps'12th in 13 games and boosted their home record to 18-1-1. More important, it moved them to within five points of the East leading Boston Bruins.

*The Caps' nine-game winning streak at home is the second longest in club history.

*Kozlov, a shootout specialist, improved to 17 of 35 all-time in the shootout. Theodore is now 11-3 lifetime in the tiebreaker. The Caps are 2-2 this season in games decided in the shootout.

"I always like our chances in the shootouts," said Theodore, who has five straight starts. "With the skill we have and my record, I feel comfortable in shootouts."

*Ovechkin, meantime, is not money in the shootout. He fell to 9 of 34 all time after hitting the post.

*In the third period, Boudreau switched Alexander Semin to the Ovechkin-Backstrom line in an effort to get Semin more ice time. It also allowed Boudreau to put Kozlov on the second line for a little more defensive reponsibility, he said.

*The Caps have also won seven one-goal games in a row after starting the season 3-3-3 in one goal games.

*Backstrom, who scored the lone goal for Washington tonight, has 41 points in his last 28 games and is now fifth the league in scoring (12 goals and 29 assists).

*Saw something I've never seen before tonight. The referees ordered the Zambonis back onto the ice after Flyers goalie Martin Biron complained that they had not cleared the ice evenly. So the game was delayed by a few minutes.

"They just said it was thinner at that end," Boudreau said. "And I just said, 'Well then tell them not to skate wide'."

*The announced sellout was the Caps' 10th of the season. I say announced because there were certainly a few open seats in the lower bowl.

*Also, be sure to check out Dan Steinberg's post from tonight's game. More interesting quotes from Mike Richards, who said Ovechkin made some "dirty hits."

That's it for now. Check back tomorrow for an update on Clark.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 7, 2009; 12:04 AM ET
 
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Comments

Sure hope Clark is okay. That was quite a hit from Ovie!

Posted by: Tracy2117 | January 7, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Anytime we beat the flyers I'm happy, even when it comes down to a nerve-wracking SO.

Posted by: uncatim | January 7, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

A flyer calling another player dirty? Really?

Posted by: SombreroGuy | January 7, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Richards is a punk.

Posted by: uncatim | January 7, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Who was it that Ovie crushed behind the goal line? I couldn't tell as I was far on the other end of the ice.

Also on Nylander's hooking call, it looked to me like he just lifted the stick and took the puck. Looked clean to me. For those of you watching in TVland, what did the replay show?

Posted by: SombreroGuy | January 7, 2009 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Ovi? Dirty? That's rich coming from Richards.

Hope Clark is okay. :(

I wasn't satisfied with the win, either, myself, but I think a lot of our problems had to do with choppy ice. It wasn't the blowout I wanted, though I feel that that will come.

Like I said in the last post, I'll take the W.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 7, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

I was at the game tonight, and i had forgotten how RUDE philly fans are.
I'm a 13 year old girl, and a man spat in my face. I'm serious. What type of person does that?

Posted by: sprkatya38 | January 7, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

I wonder how much of Boudreau's commentary was designed to get under the Flyers' skin. It appears to have worked, at least with the coach and apparently with some of the players as well. I wonder if he's deliberately provoking a rivalry. (The idea amuses me.)

Although, one wonders after that comment how the Flyers don't know why Caps fans think they're mostly dirtbags. Unless they do it deliberately, too. Hey, tit for tat, more fun for all. :) Why not stoke a rivalry? It's fun.

You know, it's been a long time since we've seen Cheef. Did his mommy take away his keyboard or something?

Posted by: kittypawz | January 7, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

What a terribly played, uninspired game. The Caps were awful tonight. Turnovers galore, the forecheck disappeared along with all energy and inspiration halfway through the first. For all the talk about this game being so important, and how much the hate the Flyers, that was one dud effort (save for Theodore and Alzner). If the Caps needed their goalie to steal one he sure did, but I chalk that victory up to sheer luck. I'm very disappointed with the team tonight.

Posted by: JBrooke4 | January 7, 2009 12:34 AM | Report abuse

ovie got one in on sbisa if thats the one you are talking about.

Posted by: brooklyncapsfan | January 7, 2009 12:34 AM | Report abuse

That game was a nail-biter.
Before I fall into bed, let me say this, the tricycle race was pathetic. ONe guy had a female spirit giving massive pushes to help out, and the turtle man was robbed. Just robbed. In the mites on ice game, number 7 looked strong from the beginning. The 2nd kid, in red 8 jersey, tried to emulate Ovie and jumped into the glass, but he just mimed it; his skates never left the ice. Because he's 6 years old.
I was particularly agitated tonight. I cursed a lot. I maniacally joined chants. My wife told me to stop cursing after I yelled at the ref. I told her that the Nylander call was bunk. She said it doesn't matter, we're in the 400's. Flyers do suck, but they're a scary good team. We're gonna see a lot of Philly in the Caps future. I like that. I'm so sick of Tampa and Florida.

Posted by: oo7 | January 7, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

It's a seven game win streak, not nine...

Posted by: nautikal | January 7, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

JBrooke4: Not sure that the effort wasn't there. I chalk a lot of it up to choppy ice thanks to the rain outside and a warm VC. The D was very, very solid, and the goaltending was as well. The O was choppy, though, that I'll give you. Definitely some work to do there. Not our best work, but not as bad as you're claiming.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 7, 2009 12:42 AM | Report abuse

the flyers are crying about ovie playing dirty? that could be the funniest thing i've ever heard. besides, wasn't jamie heward just quoted last week talking about how clean #8 is? i suppose the flyers just can't handle a little dose of their own medicine...

Posted by: chevychase1 | January 7, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

9 game winning streak? What am I missing here? Wasn't the last Flyers game that we lost on Dec 20th just 8 games ago?

Somebody please correct me because I remember hearing someone says something about a 7 game winning streak 2 games ago and I thought that was odd too.

Posted by: PonMan | January 7, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

@007 - Having been a part of a tricycle race, I can assure you the blue tricycle is terrible. Thats the one the dude was having trouble with tonight. When i rode it, the tire was half flat.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | January 7, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

I meant nine straight at home is the second longest ...

fixed. thanks.

--tarik

Posted by: el_bashir | January 7, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

@kittypawz,
Just as an FYI, everyone in the lower half of Sections 107 and 108 shared my opinion, as did many of die-hard season tix holder folks I hang with (not that it means I'm right, but just that it was a common opinion amongst folks). Sitting 6 rows off the ice in 108 I can tell you the forecheck, and all intensity in the offensive zone, completely disappeared. Semin and Ovechkin were just invisible, aside from Ovechkin's attempted spear of Carter that injured Clark in the process. Many in the crowd (in the lower bowl) were howling at the team for the Caps lack of effort and poor play in the third.

As for the D, Alzner was rock solid and steady, that kid is awesome. Jurcina was good, Morrisson was good. Green was okay, other than being the normal turnover machine he is, Schultz was HORRIBLE. Collins was pretty bad in his own zone all night. Schultz was responsible for two plays where Theodore had to make incredible saves.

That was, IMHO, probably one of the worst games of the season so far, up there with the game in LA and the lone regulation loss at Verizon to the Panthers.

Posted by: JBrooke4 | January 7, 2009 12:53 AM | Report abuse

BTW folks, if Ovechkin had connected on that attempted hit on Carter he might have drawn a gamer and suspension. He left his feet and hurled himself in a spear-like fashion at Carter, of course missing him entirely and hitting and injuring Clark in the process. AO needs to watch himself, he's taking shots that with every passing day are coming closer and closer to matching the "dirty" description that he's been getting criticism for lately.

Posted by: JBrooke4 | January 7, 2009 12:56 AM | Report abuse

oh no! I really hope that Clark is okay !

Posted by: jogabonito | January 7, 2009 12:56 AM | Report abuse

I think AO is definately getting more physical by the day. I do not believe "dirty" should be used to describe him at all though. I think it is rather funny to see it come from Philly though as I think back to the various no-calls on hits to Huet last season and the notorious Flyer history of cheap play... What really POs me though is that Brash has done NOTHING the last few games. Why are we paying Brash if he isn't going to protect our skilled players? Clark, with a BROKEN arm has been there more often. AND Semin has been in more fights for Pete's sake!

Posted by: Bongos | January 7, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse

@jbrooke4
I agree with your opinion on the game. I disagree with your opinion on semin, I thought he made some great attempts at providing offense however, his line mates were not up to par, I would like to see him play with Kozlov. I agree with your opinion of Schultz but not on Alzner, I thought he had mediocre game but so was the team as a whole. OV did not seem to be on the game at all.

Posted by: x1232 | January 7, 2009 1:07 AM | Report abuse

I think we mostly agree, except on a matter of scale. The offense was pretty bad, though nothing yet has matched the schlock that was the Panthers game. God that was horrid. I still think the ice was part of it, though - it was nasty out there. Neither side could get anything going.

I still prefer Sloan to Collins personally, though I realize a lot of people disagree with me on that.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 7, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

Just got home - had to go out to celebrate that one!! ;-) That was a great game - low scoring but thrilling all the way. I think that DaveUKCapsFan should get the hard hat for staying up until almost 3am to watch until the bitter end ... now THAT'S a Caps fan!!! :-D

Posted by: --Boo-- | January 7, 2009 1:15 AM | Report abuse

-kittypawz
I completely agree with your choice of Sloan over Collins. Also, I would love to see more Chris Bourque. He played far better than Giroux or A. Gordon. He also brings a big energy boost to the game. I can't wait to see him in red.

Posted by: Bongos | January 7, 2009 1:27 AM | Report abuse

@oo7: Skip the cursing and start a Klack. I spent the christmas holiday in Sweden following the Brynäs IF Klack "Brooklyn Tigers" around sweden getting into trouble. I think it would be neat if we could get caps fans to do stuff like this(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMRUaK1eTUk)

@JBrooke4: You are correct. Sitting 6 rows from the ice and having the opinion of all the people down there doesn´t mean squat. It just means you have money. I´m watching the game now on tape delay at work and its not as bad as you make it out to be. The third period is a little rough but overall its been a close game.

On an aside, I am sick of all the ice problems. There has to be some way to get it right. Maybe if the Caps win a cup they will have enough finances to kick the wizards and mystics out.

Posted by: trunkenmath | January 7, 2009 1:56 AM | Report abuse

I somehow missed Ovechkin's infamous hit on Clark... but I do hope that the attempted shot on Collins was a one-time thing. Ovechkin did (supposedly) cross-check Mike Knuble, but that happened fast, and it looked like the two of them were getting into something... Given Knuble's half-a-dozen slashing penalties this year, I wouldn't find that surprising at all.

Yes, Ovechkin is a physical player. He goes out there and hits hard.... in the interest of Science (OK, it's late, and I'm tired!), Here's Ovi's penalty rap sheet:

* Boarding - once vs. Islanders on his return from Russia
* Charging
* Closing Hand on Puck
* Cross-checking - once vs. Islanders on his return from Russia; again tonight vs. Flyers
* High-sticking
* High-sticking (double minor)
* Holding
* Hooking (five times)
* Interference (four times)
* Interference on Goalkeeper
* Slashing (twice)
* Tripping

Where I indicate no numbers, it's only happened once. Most telling? In 23 games so far this season, Alex has spent no time in the box at all. He didn't play in two games while he was in Russia. In the 39 games he's played, he has spent 46 minutes in the box so far this year.

How does that measure up against his previous seasons?

2001-02: 20 PIMs in 19 games (Dynamo) 1.05/game
2002-03: 28 PIMs in 40 games (Dynamo) .700/game
2003-04: 40 PIMs in 53 games (Dynamo) .754/game
2004-05: 32 PIMs in 37 games (Dynamo) .864/game
2005-06: 52 PIMs in 81 games (Caps) .641/game
2006-07: 52 PIMs in 82 games (Caps) .634/game
2007-08: 40 PIMs in 82 games (Caps) .488/game
2008-09: 46 PIMs in 39 games (Caps) .847/game

So right now, he's running his third-heaviest PIMs/game since his career began. What does that mean? Right now, it means I missed a penalty of some sort, because what I have up there only adds up to 44 minutes... :-p But as I'm half-asleep, and it's after 2 in the morning... Ugh. I'm gonna sleep.

Posted by: irockthered | January 7, 2009 2:11 AM | Report abuse

And what the HELL was my point with all that, anyway?

Oh - yeah.

People are concerned about Ovechkin taking a turn towards the dark side... should we be?

The types of penalties Ovechkin has taken this year might say so...

But of the physical penalties, he's only repeat-offended on two: cross-checking, and slashing. And I remember one of those was an "iffy" penalty.

As for boarding - he's in good company on THAT one with **Backstrom** of all people!

Charging? He's all by himself there - don't remember any other Cap being called for that one... but that happened during the game where Mike Green got hurt when he took that hit from Chris Pronger...

You decide: is our beloved Alex O. going to the dark side?

I think not!

Posted by: irockthered | January 7, 2009 2:32 AM | Report abuse

Good lord! Has Dave Steckel's play improved, or what?!! His performance these last 8 - 10 games has been just slightly less than amazing. All of a sudden he seems to be much, much quicker than before. And his puck handling is suddenly almost "Seminesque." He's displaying a sense of creativity and imagination that's totally blowing my mind. And, that's not easily accomplished. Suddenly, he's a legitimate offensive threat. Unbelievable!! I recall BB saying that Steckel was capable of being a 20 + goals per year scorer in this league. To say the least, I was more than a little skeptical at the time. Now I'm thinking maybe Bruce didn't go as far out on the limb as I thought.
I'm also doing hand stands over Collins' play at R. Defense. i've refrained from saying anything until now, because it's not unusual for guys to overachieve for a few games when first called up. however, in Collins' case, his play has steadily improved. His decisions have been decisive. And his passing sublime. As far as I'm concerned, HE'S A KEEPER. IMHO, he's graduated from merely being a "Prospect" to now being a bona fide NHL defenseman. I just hope George doesn't get too cute, and send him back to Hershey. That would be a mistake.

Posted by: Puckguru | January 7, 2009 2:42 AM | Report abuse

Ovechkin plays physical!! Get off his back. It makes me smile to hear Philly cry when they get a taste of their own medicine. Hope Caps fans arent gonna be bleeding hearts for those punks.

Posted by: hank7216 | January 7, 2009 3:09 AM | Report abuse

Sombrero,
Totally agree about Nylanders hooking call that lead to their PP goal. I thought he'd made a good play to stick check the Flyer and take the puck off him. I was expecting a make up call pretty soon after that but it never came.

The Flyers were whinning all night. Ever in the shootout they found something to moan about.

They are a good team no doubt but we just had enough tonight. Difference between the teams? JT60.

Boo,
Thanks for the hard hat nomination, I am struggling this morning after 4 hours sleep!

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | January 7, 2009 5:37 AM | Report abuse

Trade OV or Chris Clark. It seems OV is trying to ruin Clark's career. First a slapshot to the head. Now a full on check. It seems that Clark and OV should never be on the ice at the same time.

Posted by: fehrrocks | January 7, 2009 5:48 AM | Report abuse

Re Ovie in the shootout.

He seems to have gone back to his old approach to shootouts, i.e. skating in hard, lifting/kicking the leg to fake the goalie, then shooting. Previously, he's been coming in slower and trying to deke the goalie.

He was unlucky last night just clipping the post but hopefully his back to basic approach will work in the future.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | January 7, 2009 6:26 AM | Report abuse

I was sitting three rows behind the Caps bench. Hartnell on the Flyers was being the biggest a** he came over to the caps bench and started making fun of Semin for his fight last week. I was surprised no one on the caps pounded him. But our whole section just started yelling at him whenever he was near the end of his bench. I couldn't believe he did that. I though ti twas very low.

Posted by: Amers514 | January 7, 2009 6:55 AM | Report abuse

New thread but see my comments there.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 7, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

I thought the Nylander penalty was a good call, but maybe it doesn't get called in the last five minutes. It actually looked worse as it happened.

Posted by: koalatek | January 7, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

@kittypawz

The Ice looked fine to me. It was pretty cold in there tonight as well so I know they weren't having the same issues as they did n the NYR game.

@JBrooke4

There is a reason they weren't fully committing to the Forecheck tonight. Philly is so good springing people for breakaways that you do that at a huge risk. Hence the reason they played very conservative.

I thought it was a pretty good stand up effort.

It wasn't a blow out but I will definitely take the 2 points.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | January 7, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I watched the game from section 110 and thought it was a pretty lackluster effort on the Caps part, and the Flyers looked tired. Granted, there wasn't much time and space with the puck (somthing the Flyers are great at taking away), but Ovie and Semin were skating in circles waiting for the puck more than usual, and their offense looked like they were hung over. Too bad... it should have been an easy regulation win.

Great to have a win, but definitely not a great win.

Posted by: waldmant | January 7, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Very surprising lack of intensity from the Caps last night. Semin was pouting the whole first half of the game for not playing with Ovie. Schultz is not fit enough to play in the NHL. He is a comedy of error. Ovie had a sub-par game, Green and Kozlov mishandled the puck repetitively.
BB's tactic to have the players fire the puck from the D-zone to the other end where Ovie is waiting on the blue line wasn't working last night. The rare times it worked, nobody was able to follow the rush; Ovie didn't get through once.
Very uninspired and dull hockey.
If all you care is a win, then you are satisfied; if you like to watch hockey for the love of the game, you are like me and wasted $100 and 4 hours of your time.
The Caps still have lots of croutons to eat before they can aspire to the Cup.

Posted by: atybat | January 7, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone notice that the AC was ON in Verizon Center last night, it's actually the coldest I've ever felt it in there and I was sitting in the 100's. We could feel the breeze in our seats and it wasn't coming from the portals. I don't wear a jacket while at the game and yet I almost had to run down to the car (if they would have let me back in) to get it.

Good game, I'm just amazed that the officials let the Flyers get away with all that crap before the shootout. The NHL mandates how the ice is done and teams are fined heftily for not adhering to it. You know Ted would not want to upset the NHL over the matter of a few inches of the shootout lane. But hey, I'll take 5 minutes between rounds of shootout if it means we score and subsequently win.

Posted by: dj1123 | January 7, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

@SombreroGuy

From where I was sitting (421) the Nylander hook call was a very minor infraction, but it was a hook. The only reason it was called was because he also lifted the stick and took the puck and would have had a breakaway into the net. Had the puck kept going into center ice, the hook probably would have been let go.

He definitely gave the guy a little tug, slowed him down a hair, then did a stick check to take the puck away. Before the lockout, that wouldn't be called either, but now, it's called.

Posted by: MikeL-Caps91 | January 7, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

@JBrooke4 - I agree with you assessment... Ovie had the hit on Heward on the 1st and now the hit on his own player just 6 days later....

Posted by: Tracy2117 | January 7, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Gotta say that I agree with the posters here, as well as that Boudreau guy, that were at least a little disappointed with the way the game played out last night. Glad the Caps got two points in the long run, but it looked like they got discouraged after not scoring during the flurry of activity and all the power play chances in the second. As a result, they seemed to be playing a step behind from that point through a good portion of the third.

Thank goodness Theo was having an "ultra-focused" night in the crease.

But how great is it that there's room to be nit-picking the quality of WINS now? I'll take being spoiled over being beleaguered any day. Heh!

Let's go Caps!

Posted by: Goat_74 | January 7, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

As i said before, ovechkin is far from the cleanest player. he constantly leaves his feet to hit people and takes questionable charges. the thing is, most every high intensity player it can be said does this. ovechkin needs to learn to quite leaving his feet when he hits someone though, he is going to get called for that.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 7, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

also penalties dont really mean anything. ovechkin CONSTANTLY leaves his feets for hits. that is a no no.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 7, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

My,My,My, I've never seen so many experts. The sign of a good hockey Team is winning even when not playing at your best. Also with all the injuries the Caps hace had they are lucky as hell to have the Great record they have. Lots of the comments above are written buy a bunch of Hockey SNOBS. BE HAPPY DUMMIES WE ARE WINNING.Enjoy, this team will only get better so be thankful for what you have.

Posted by: duckyjimpond | January 8, 2009 2:44 AM | Report abuse

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